Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Gongadi event

The 3-day gongadi show in the malkha shop in Hyderabad was a huge success. Of all the good things that happened - the sell-out of gongadi stock, the enthusiastic press attention with several newspaper articles and a television interview, the parallel spike in malkha sales, two were the most interesting:

First, it was unexpected and delightful that the memory of the gongadi had remained in so many local people, as a comforting and constant feature of their childhood, and which they thought was lost for ever. These gongadi fans wanted their children to know, touch and feel one, and they came from long distances to buy the gongadi.

The second and even more rewarding was that the creators of the gongadi, the shepherds, women yarn spinners, weavers and kada makers [of whom there are only a few left] who were present during the event experienced at first hand the enthusiasm for their creation from the public and as a result have renewed their confidence in their own skills.

Anthra has done a great job in bringing the work to this stage, beginning with the nurturing of the original Deccani breed of sheep. Elana Dickson, as the designer, encouraged traditional gongadi designs and fostered the creativity of the makers themselves rather than imposing an alien aesthetic.

From top to bottom, the pictures are 1]women wool spinners [in the background, Sagari Ramdas of Anthra], 2]the dancers putting on their ghungroo [bells]at the closing ceremony, 3] dance performance by the Kurumas , 4] making the kada, the hand-made edging of the gongadi.

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